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Supporting Bushfire-Affected Communities through

ESSA’s Bushfire Grants 2020

As members of this industry, we all know the power of exercise/physical activity/sport can have on helping to build a community and to mitigate the trauma those affected are likely to experience the coming months. In light of this, funding is being made available by Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) to help encourage our members to set up and run community exercise/sport activities/programs in the bushfire effected communities.


Funding available

Minimum 10 grants of up to $5000

What we will fund

Community exercise/sport activities/programs (existing or new) to help people be active as a community

Community exercise/sport activities/programs to support rural fire services volunteers (and their families)

Activities/programs must be delivered in collaboration/partnership with a local community service/organisation

Activities/program can be delivered in parks, community halls, schools, sporting oval, Universities, PCYCs, YMCA, council facilities, church halls, etc.

Funds will cover community rents, portable equipment and a maximum of 25% of requested funds to staff salary

What we will not fund

One on one sessions

Programs part of existing third party payer (i.e. Medicare) or require a participation fee

A one-off activity

Activities with no local community service/organisation involvement

Travel costs of more than 25% of requested funds to staff salary

Application criteria

Activity/Program must be delivered in a community which has been severely affected by a bushfire – demonstrated by lost residences, lost land, lost businesses, extreme poor air quality for 5 number of days

Activity/Program is designed to achieve maximal participation

Activity/Program should be run a minimum of 8 times over a 3-month period

Activity/Program must be a minimum 1 hour in duration (each time)

Program must be delivered by a financial ESSA member


Community(s) to receive the program:

The population and communities around Lithgow region who have been significantly affected by the recent bush fires. In addition to the property damaged and stolen as well as the high unemployment rate among the people in these communities as a result of the bush fires, up to 15% repost of psychological distress. The rehabilitation program is designed to help such individuals in Lithgow community back to their feet. Reports of obesity and overweight have also been numerous as well as lack of effective representation of the community in sports and fitness activities. The fitness program is as such designed to help individuals in the community who are interested in fitness and sporting activities.

Target audience:

The programs will target members of Lithgow community. Specifically individuals who were adversely impacted by the bushfires leading to loss of property and jobs.

The programs will also target members of the society who may be psychologically distressed, obese and overweight with programs meant to improve their health.

Details of program:

The proposal involves two key programs that will be significant in impacting effective turnaround of the community

Community rehabilitation program

Community fitness program

The proposal involves two key programs that will be significant in impacting effective turnaround of the community

Community rehabilitation program

Community fitness program

Following the impact of bush fires impacting Lithgow region, a majority of the individuals living there have been disoriented with concerns to their daily lives. This has led to high unemployment rates, sedentary lifestyles that have led to overweight and obese adults as well as psychological distress all of which are culminating to crime and violence. Two programs have been proposed to minimize these effects and further significantly transform the community back into a healthy growth path. The community rehabilitation program will include a classroom lecture on the various ways to counter the harsh effects of the environment after the bush fires as well as a community engagement session, which attempts to rehabilitate the environment. The community fitness program on the other hand will include training and exercising programs that any member of the society can access to set them off on a healthy athletic path. Through the two programs, an effective boost to the Lithgow community is provided as well as a path back to community and individual restoration.

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Keenan (2020) highlights a wide range of impacts related to bush fires including destruction of property, land, disorientation for individuals in the community. These effects almost always extend to frustration and despair leading to the destruction of a community. While the community of Lithgow cannot be said to have despaired, they certainly have a low morale with regards to being productive, resourceful and healthy again as a community. Development of a community rehabilitation program is likely to not only impact the redevelopment of the community but also boost individual morale and attitude. The community rehabilitation program serving as the first program will then contribute towards advertising for the community fitness program which should complete the physical and psychological adaptation to the new environment. Health experts and studies including Reiner et al. (2013) and Elmagd (2016) highlight among the benefits of maintaining physical body fitness and regular exercises to include maintaining good health and keeping individuals occupied. With the fitness program more people can be able to effectively learn ways of exercising and maintaining their body health. This should lead to minimized unhealthy practices, impact lesser psychological distress and keep people from engaging in crime within the area. Subsequently with increased levels of individuals involved in the fitness program, the club can be able to attract more players and solve a wide range of the internal problems.

Organisation (s) partnering with:

Community based organization (YMCA)

Local Government

Private business and sports enterprises such as the local amateur sports club

How you intend to advertise/promote

The programs will be advertised through conventional means such as passing around of posters and flyers among the members of the community to invite their participation to the programs. Community sensitization by different organization which includes our partners will also be able to effectively make known the existence of the two programs to further enhance popularity and increased interest within the community.

Funding being requested:

Community spacing hire and rent $12,000

Portable equipment

Class and lecture tools $9000

Garden and field tools and seedlings $8000

Gym and exercise tools and equipment $9000

Salary to instructors and community leaders $12000

Total $50,000

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